I haven’t lived in Missouri since 1972, but my heart is still connected to the land and the people I knew there growing up and those I know who still live there. My mother had some distant relatives who lived near Joplin, and our family went to visit them one summer when I was maybe seven or eight years old. Crossing the state from St. Louis in those days before interstate highways was a bigger and longer adventure than it is today. I have only two memories of that visit. One is of me and my sister bouncing on a big feather bed in an old farm house. We had never seen a feather bed before. The other memory is of Mother telling us we were going so far we’d be almost across the state line into Kansas, where the Wizard of Oz takes place. It seemed exciting.
When the tornado blew through Joplin last weekend I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico after the SSP conference that focused on doing shamanic work for disaster sites as a community of practitioners. But the group had dispersed by the time we learned about the tragedy. So here’s what I did. I’m writing about this hoping that this kind of “shamanic tending” will appeal to others when some power of the earth rampages.
I merged with my power animal and sought power from a Sheltering Spirit I know in the Hudson River Valley where 7,000-year-old rock shelters exist, and then I collected some power from the Spirit of Hospitality that I have worked with as a figure on the Irish Spirit Wheel. Then we flew to Joplin.
When I felt I was there, I used the prayer left to us by Francis of Assisi. It is a prayer for balance, although he called it “peace.” This is my version of it that I used in Santa Fe/Joplin.
Divine Spirit Who Dwells in All Things,
may we be bringers of peace.
where there is hatred let us sow love,
where there is injury, pardon,
where there is doubt, faith,
where there is despair, hope,
where there is sadness, joy,
where there is darkness light.
May they not seek so much to be comforted
as to comfort those who survived,
not so much to be understood
as to understand what has happened,
not so much to be loved
as to love.
For it is giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we return to Life Itself.
So I flew around and perched on things, and kept spreading this prayer, hoping that some of the people of southwest Missouri would hear it.